Zinc tally taste test
Do you have white spots on your nails; poor immune function; stretch marks; skin rashes; fertility issues; low libido? You could be low in zinc! How would you like to find out?
What do you need zinc for?
Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed for 300 different enzyme roles in your body across all your major metabolic pathways. You can’t store it in large amounts in your body and so you have a daily need for it in your food.
You probably know of zinc to support your immune system. In the case of a cold, zinc can interfere with processes that cause mucus and bacteria to build up in nasal passages that’s why taking zinc can reduce your symptoms and speed up your recovery time.
Zinc is needed for:
- Structure of proteins including DNA synthesis and cell membranes
- Cell signaling – the coordination of response to growth regulating hormones – for fertility
- Hormone production (testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone production) – in women zinc is needed for the creation/release/maturation and growth of the egg from the ovary – in males for sperm production
- Libido – you need zinc to make testosterone. Low testosterone = low libido
- Nerve impulses – brain development and function – intelligence and learning ability
- Apoptosis – programmed cell death – this is another immune system function
- For growth and development – healthy cell division
- Taste and smell
- A healthy immune system
- For digestion of proteins and carbohydrates
- For healthy circulation, blood pressure and cholesterol
- For healthy weight – insulin regulation – so insulin can bind to cells so that glucose can be used for fuel instead of being stored as fat
What are the causes of zinc deficiency?
- Chronic diarrhea
- Low dietary intake
- Too much alcohol – alcohol is an anti-nutrient
- Cigarette smoking
- Malabsorption in the stomach – you need Hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) to absorb zinc and you need zinc to make stomach acid
- Use of proton pump inhibitors and over the counter antacids
- Other medications e.g. steroids, diuretics, HRT, oral contraceptive pill, laxatives, antibiotics, anti-convulsant drugs
- Coffee, dairy, grains (phytates), soy can all inhibit the absorption of zinc
- Gluten intolerance leads to impaired ability to absorb zinc
- Chronic infections – your body uses more zinc
- Physical/mental/emotional stress – stress increases your loss of zinc via your urine
- Over exercising – causes the excretion of zinc and therefore you have a greater need so that your body can repair and build muscle mass.
- Heavy metal toxicity – lead, mercury and cadmium (cigarettes) are antagonists to zinc as they bind to enzymes mimicking zinc
What are the zinc deficiency symptoms?
- Skin rashes e.g. psoriasis, eczema, acne, dermatitis
- Chronic and severe diarrhea
- Immune system related disorders e.g. recurrent colds and flu, cold sores
- Tired, run down, lethargic, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Poor concentration/memory/low mood
- Slow wound healing
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased sense of taste and smell
- Stretch marks
- White spots on your nails or brittle nails – whitlows
- Behavioral disturbances e.g. ADHD – impulsiveness- delayed neurological development/motor skills
- Slowing of growth and development
- Delayed sexual maturation – delayed puberty
- Night blindness – clouding and swelling of the corneas
- Thinning hair
- Allergies – running nose, sneezing, hives – low zinc can lead to increased histamine and therefore an increased sensitivity to allergic reactions
You need more if:
- You have been unwell/reduced resistance to infections
- Are pregnant/breastfeeding
- Times of rapid growth – children and adolescents
- You are vegan or vegetarian
- You have “leaky gut”
- You are type II diabetic
- Have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – zinc absorption is impaired if you have RA
- Have HIV
- Are anorexic or bulimic
- You have inflammatory bowel disease
- Persistent diarrhea
- Peptic ulcers
- Cant concentrate like you used to
- You smoke
- You drink alcohol on a daily basis
- Are stressed
- Over exercise
- You take HRT/OCP/PPI’s/other medications
- If you have PMT
- PICA – a craving for non food items e.g. coal/chalk/ice cubes
- Get flickering eyes and speech
- Intravenous feeding tube
- If you are over 65 years old – unfortunately as you age your immune system can decline
What are the food sources of zinc?
- Turkey dark meat
- Chicken (dark meat)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
How much zinc should you take?
Well that depends on how insufficient/deficient you are!!! You can do a zinc tally taste test with a qualified practitioner. Or it can be indicated in a blood test with levels of Alkaline Phosphatase below 70iu/l
The RDA for healthy adult males is 11mg/d and for adult females 8mg/d if pregnant or breastfeeding 12mg/d
What does the zinc tally taste test involve?
You will be given 5mls of zinc solution. You swish it around in your mouth for 10 seconds and swallow it. If you get a very strong taste immediately then you don’t have a problem with zinc. If the solution tastes like water you have a deficiency. If you get a metallic taste after a few seconds then you are insufficient. Your practitioner will be able to advise a dose for oyu and then retest in 4-6 weeks.
Are there any adverse effects from taking zinc?
High doses of zinc may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a metallic taste in your mouth. These symptoms should stop when you stop taking the supplement.
Are there any drug interactions?
- Tetracycline and quinilone antibiotics – Zinc may decrease the absorption of these medications just take the zinc supplement at least 2hrs away from the medication
- Anticonvulsants may precipitate zinc deficiency
- Prolonged use of diuretics may increase urinary excretion
- Metal-chelating agents e.g. Penicillamine and DTPA has resulted in zinc deficiency
Are there any nutrient interactions?
- High dose iron supplements may decrease zinc absorption. Take the iron and zinc 2-4hrs apart from each other.
- Taking high dose of zinc can interfere with copper bioavailability. Zinc can cause a copper binding protein to trap the copper in the intestinal cells and prevents its absorption.
- A zinc dependent enzyme increases folate bioavailability.
- Vitamin A needs zinc to convert retinol to retinal – low zinc decreases the amount of vitamin A released by the liver and can contribute to symptoms of night blindness because of the way zinc helps the eye absorb light.